Best Free Registry Cleaner

Introduction

There is a lot of controversy over how well Windows registry cleaners work. The makers claim their programs remove unneeded settings from the registry and some claim to remove "errors" that could potentially cause problems. While some people swear by them, others blame registry cleaners for their Windows system becoming unrecoverable. If you use a registry cleaner that causes a problem you should be prepared to restore from a backup or to reinstall Windows.

This ever-present risk of problems is why the "Best Registry Cleaner" is the one that causes the fewest problems, rather than the one that finds the greatest number of registry issues. Although none of the registry cleaners I recommend here have caused me a problem I have not elected to have an Editor's Choice in this category because I consider that all the registry cleaners fail to provide clear guidance to make registry cleaning a well-informed choice. None of the products properly explain what they are suggesting should be removed and none clearly indicate the risks of such cleaning.

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Windows users do not usually need to use a registry cleaner

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If your Windows system is running slow then there other things you should try first

Each of the following actions can improve your systems performance ten to one hundred times more than registry cleaning.

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If you do use a registry cleaner then always have good backups

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Features that should be in a registry cleaner

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In a Hurry?

Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles before selecting or using a registry cleaner:

 

Discussion
 

Registry cleaner as part of a system cleaning suite

CCleaner scanning the registryCCleaner is widely recommended for cleaning your Windows system and provides several ways to improve the performance of your PC. CCleaner is also very light-handed so it suits most users who are not confident with removing registry records.

This is the only registry cleaner that I use although sometimes I wish it would be more aggressive in finding and removing unneeded records. So if you are a more advanced user and you want more cleaning options then choose one of the stand-alone products below.

 

Stand-alone registry cleaner

Wise Registry Cleaner scanningWise Registry Cleaner was the old Editor's Choice but like the other cleaners would need to improve its guidance to earn that award now. It is well-documented with a manual on the website, it is very regularly updated, it works with the 64-bit registry records, and it has companion products for other aspects of cleaning. You can select the level of risk and complexity in the scans as well as choosing which categories of error are searched. It can also be automated and has scheduling built-in. Any changes are automatically backed up before the issues are removed. The backup options also allow you to create a System Restore point or full backup.

There is one problem with the scanning interface: the scan button turns into the cleaning button after each scan. They should have been two separate buttons so you don't mistakenly delete Registry records. If you do want to rescan then you need to select the rescan link to the left of the button.

PowerTools LitePowerTools Lite has a paid big brother, jv16 PowerTools, from which comes the registry cleaner, backup options, and strangely enough a web blocking list for your hosts file. The cleaner has the most descriptive information on each error but you'll probably find it still isn't clear enough for you unless you are an advanced user. The best part of it is that you can choose your level of risk at four levels from low to high. Initially set it to low and only consider raising it if you have no problems. The higher the risk then the higher the complexity and the longer scans will take but the extra wait is not too long.

PowerTools Lite has a wide range of settings as shown in the image. It also has a command-line option so it can be scheduled to run automatically and it works with the 64-bit Registry. Later in 2014, jv16 PowerTools will become Open Source allowing you to upgrade to a fully-featured system cleaner at some point.

 

Open Source registry cleaner

Little Registry CleanerLittle Registry Cleaner is only exceptional in being Open Source. You can check exactly how it works. In terms of speed and features it is like the majority of registry cleaners: easy to scan but not so easy to know if you're deleting the right records. It has the usual obscure descriptions of issues and little guidance on the relative risks of any changes.

 

Registry cleaners for older versions of Windows

Cleanersoft Free Registry FixEusing Free Registry CleanerIf you use Windows ME, 98 or 95 then there are many options including obsolete programs that have not been updated for years. Two programs that will work with Windows versions from 95 to 8 are Eusing Free Registry Cleaner and Cleanersoft Free Registry Fix. These applications look like they may be related because they are so similar in appearance, features, and operation. Two obvious difference are visible in the images: Eusing has a task sub-menu and displays the key before the data value.

 
Quick Selection Guide

Wise Registry Cleaner Free
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Multilanguage; settings for scan category and level; automatic backup of changes with option to create System Restore point; command-line parameters; scheduling.
Scan button becomes the Clean button so be careful if wanting to rescan.
8.21
2.02 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP to Windows 8
CCleaner
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Less risky than other cleaners; has other system cleaning functions; multi-language.
Remember to uncheck Google Chrome and IE Toolbar during install.
https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner
4.15
4.6 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows XP to Windows 8
PowerTools Lite
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Best descriptions of errors found in scan; select level of risk that is acceptable before scan; command-line parameters.
2.1
7.2 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000 to Windows 8
Eusing Free Registry Cleaner
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Compatible with older versions of Windows; Multi-language; Link to Windows Backup
Insufficient descriptions of registry issues so may have to use RegEdit to check the keys and values.
3.5
960 KB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 95 to Windows 8
Cleanersoft Free Registry Fix
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Compatible with older versions of Windows;
2.1
731 KB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 95 to Windows 8
Little Registry Cleaner
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Open Source; Multi-language
1.6
5.35 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP to Windows 8

Editor

This category is maintained by volunteer editor Remah. Registered members can contact the editor with comments or suggestions by clicking here.

Tags

Windows registry cleaner, best registry cleaner, free registry cleaner

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Comments

by Remah on 10. July 2014 - 23:30  (117259)

This update of free Registry Cleaners (RC) is a complete rewrite apart from one sentence. The previous recommendations of Wise RC and Eusing Free RC are still included but there are now four sub-categories with further products recommended: RC in a Suite, Stand-alone RC, Open Source, and RC for older versions of Windows.

Remah - Category editor.

by George.J on 11. July 2014 - 5:18  (117264)

Excellent article intro and re-write. Windows registry has always been kinda vague concept to me, and I believe you've written a stand-alone article about the Windows registry in the past (which was under moderation I think). Could you please post the link to it in this article?

by Remah on 12. July 2014 - 12:35  (117286)

That article is now published and the link provided in this review.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/deeper-windows-registry.htm

by Remah on 11. July 2014 - 5:30  (117265)

Thanks. I'm reworking a couple of those draft articles at the moment so I'll post links when they're completed.

by jorgeem1717 on 11. May 2014 - 12:32  (116158)

I do use Wise Registry Cleaner and have been for over a year. It's a very controversial topic if registry cleaners really provide any performance boost or do they simply remove registry errors. Do registry cleaners give me any performance advantage??? The answer is NO... you read correctly, NO. Unless you got infected with a virus and it wasn't cleaned-up correctly or a program wasn't uninstalled correctly where the registry cleaner can be useful there isn't any benefit in cleaning the registry. I would have to say that, unless you where infected and PC wasn't cleaned out correctly or an uninstall program failure, there really isn't a need to use a registry cleaner. To clean out the registry will give you a smaller registry but that, in itself, doesn't give you any performance advantage. The registry is just data-base so no need to remove anything. The only time corrections need to be made is when external programs force ill-advised changes. If you want to read a review on this subject in detail go to http://pcsupport.about.com/od/registry-cleaner/a/registry-cleaner-faq.htm and get a glimpse at what Tim Fisher from "About.com PC Support" has to say. You can also read what Microsoft has to say about cleaning your registry and if they provide a cleaning tool, just go HERE >>> http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_xp-networking/d... and see the article. I personally have used registry cleaners where I need to remove failed uninstalls or have been infected and had a "not so clean" virus removal but that's about it. When I have had to use a cleaner I use either CCleaner or Wise Registry Cleaner which have been proven to be very safe. One other thing, ALWAYS BACK-UP YOUR FILES... you never know would could happen even if you think you know what you are doing. Accidents do happen so always back-up.....

by Zenegog on 10. September 2013 - 16:19  (110647)

I'd just like to say thanks for recommending Wise Registry Cleaner Free, as I have ran the tools provided with this software and have notice a dramatic increase in the speed in which my Windows 7 laptop starts up.

If anyone has slow start-up speeds, I'd recommend you to take full advantage of the tools in the Wise Registry Cleaner Free software before considering anything else.

Thanks again,
David.

by plasticpig72 on 3. August 2013 - 22:13  (109888)

Wise registry cleaner number one.

The first time I use it I lose the file association with quite important things like control panel. WHat an absolute pile of garbage, the only registry cleaner with which I have ever had a problem.

by judgedredd on 9. May 2013 - 18:53  (107607)

I came here yesterday (8th May, 2013) to find a registry cleaner and downloaded the Wise program. BIG mistake. This piece of junk installed 5 or 6 programs: VeeBee toolbar, Whitesmoke toolbar, Safety Search by Conduit, Default Tab and Solid Sales(?) toolbar. It took me forever to remove them AFTER I had just spent 4 hours on fixing this particular PC from similar rubbish that was installed by ANOTHER program a few weeks before.

As to the Wise registry program? Nowhere to be found! Yes, I clicked on the link as shown above and, yes, the program WAS the Wise Registry Cleaner.

I am not going to come here again if this is what is now happening with these programs.

by jorgeem1717 on 11. May 2014 - 12:19  (116159)

Next time look closely when installing "any program"... you usually can opt-out of the other programs or tool-bars. This isn't unusual since many companies try to make it difficult to see the opt-out option. Don't forget that what you are downloading & installing is FREE and that any additional tool-bar or software installed is a monetary benefit for them. They are providing their software for free and they need to make a buck also.

by MidnightCowboy on 10. May 2013 - 0:49  (107615)

I just followed the link above and no attempt was made to install anything other than Wise Registry Cleaner. There were no alerts from either my AV or WinPatrol, and nothing extra arrived in my program files or registry. MC - Site Manager.
http://imageshack.us/a/img21/573/20130510003515.png

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